Neighbor Nate can tolerate almost anything, if he chooses to do so. The thing is, he rarely chooses to activate his high level of tolerance. Failure to tolerate results in an activation of his highest level of distain for whatever unfortunate animal, person, or object that happens to be in his path. Maybe he was born with this ingrained hatred, or maybe his hatred for a particular type of small fluffy animal just happened to be failure to activate tolerance at an early age of his childhood – who knows. Regardless of how it began, Neighbor Nate has developed an intense, permanent hatred for a particular small, cute, fluffy creature that brings so much joy to so many…normal…neighbors. This isn’t your average apathy towards, or dislike of, that might reside in many of us. This is hatred in its purest form. It is distain if anyone has ever seen it. It is a full blown war, waged between Neighbor Nate and…
Wait for it…
Yes, squirrels. The cute fluffy animal that prances about the park, bringing joy and giggles to small children. Many of us tear up at the sight of a squirrel on the side of the road, having met its unfortunate fate, a lost the battle between squirrel and motorized vehicle. Even if we don’t get teary-eyed, we might omit an “oh, poor little squirrel” or “Oh, that’s so sad!” We do not cackle and blurt out insensitive jargon such as “HAHA, stupid squirrel. Maybe if you weren’t so evil and stupid, you wouldn’t have gotten hit by a car!”
If a squirrel runs out in front of our moving vehicle, we, those of us who have a soul, slam on the brakes and/or swerve in order to avoid a heart breaking catastrophe. We, again, those of us who have a soul, do NOT, under any circumstances, SPEED UP. We also do not swerve in order to HIT the squirrel.
Neighbor Nate HATES squirrels.
This is yet one more example of how Neighbor Nate and his Woman are opposites. If it is small, fluffy, and cute, the Woman loves it as her own. She wants to protect it, rescue it, foster it, nurture it, love it. It must be protected from all harm, including that which may originate from her dearest Neighbor Nate. This means Neighbor Nate must be sneaky. He must demonstrate his hatred towards squirrels in a way that will not cost him his marriage. He must hate them in a way that only suggests harm, but does not result in true harm. That, or he must hate them when the Woman is not looking.
Neighbor Nate and his Woman had a large walnut tree behind their house. This was a large, very mature walnut tree, that produced enough walnuts to feed an entire army of squirrels. This did not please Neighbor Nate.
The Woman enjoyed watching out the window as the squirrels collected nuts, burying them in their stashes throughout the yard. The way they prance about, tails flopping and wistfully behind them, it was calming to her. It was almost nostalgic. The nostalgia was very short-lived. Neighbor Nate was also watching the squirrels, but with spiking blood-pressure. Each time he saw a squirrel prancing away with one of his nuts, it was as if the squirrel was prancing away with part of his soul. Those joy-stealing, life-ruining, fluffy b*stards.
As the woman watched the squirrels out the window one day, sipping her coffee, enjoying all that was right in the world, the nostalgia was cut abruptly short. No one saw it coming. It was subtle, how it started. The squirrels all stopped moving. They froze and started glancing about, obviously aware that something in the universe was unwell. Then it happened. There was a loud thunk as the wooden gate to the back yard swung open and slammed against itself. Then the yelling.
The woman watched in horror as the scene unfolded before here eyes. Through the gate burst Neighbor Nate, hair sticking every which way having just gotten out of bed, sporting his fuzzy blue robe and blue checkered pajama pants, frantically swinging his Blackhorn Irish Walking Stick. Or, his Beating Stick, as the Woman commonly referred to it. Why had she gotten him that for his birthday? #regrets
He ran madly throughout the yard, swinging his beating stick at the squirrels as they fled for their lives. It was absolute mayhem. All birds within the perimeter of the yard flew away, squawking in sheer terror. Neighbor Nate, swinging the beating stick above his head like a mad man, screamed at the squirrels, trampling and hitting everything in sight. Flowers fell over. Watering cans flew across the yard. Nuts fell from the sky as the squirrels dropped them, focusing all of their efforts on escaping the mad man with the beating stick. Rocks started flying at the squirrels, as the beating stick was no longer the most practical weapon. Yelling. So much yelling.
Now, some of the words yelled in that moment may be considered offensive…so in order to allow your mind to do what it does best, I will put blanks where any offensive word might have been said, and you can re-create the scene for yourself. Fill them in as you wish.
“GET OFF OF MY ____ PORCH YOU STUPID ____ ____ ____SQUIRRELS! DROP MY ____ NUTS! GET OUT OF HERE YOU ____ ____ CREATURES! GO TO ____ ____ WHERE YOU BELONG! FEAR ME!!!!!!!!!!!”
Now, you could fill in the blanks like this:
“Get off my lovely porch, you stupid but adorable squirrels! Drop my delicious nuts! Get out of here, you cute, treasured creatures! Go to nut heaven where you belong! Fear me!!!!”
But I can assure you, that’s not how it went down.
At this point, the Woman burst out the back door. “Don’t you dare hurt my squirrels! Leave them alone!”
Mayhem eventually subsided, resulting in a very exhausted Neighbor Nate, standing in the middle of the back porch, clutching his beating stick in one hand, and still holding a rock in the other, huffing and puffing, completely out of breath from his episode of “All Squirrels Must Die.”
The Woman was not finished. “Why did you do that? What were they doing? They weren’t hurting you! I was having a perfectly peaceful morning, watching the squirrels – ”
He interrupted her.
“They were stealing my nuts.”
“YOU DON’T EVEN EAT THE NUTS!”
“They were stealing my nuts.”
The Woman had no response. They never did anything with the walnuts. There were THOUSANDS of nuts on the tree every year, and neither of them really like walnuts, so every year the squirrels ate them, and the rest of them rotted at the base of the tree.
“Don’t. You. Dare. Hurt. My. Squirrels.” The thought of finding one of these precious, adorable little creatures, injured or worse in her yards was too much to handle.
“Well, then tell them not to steal my nuts.”
Neighbor Nate then turned around, and walked back into the house to finish drinking his coffee.